The Cape is known for its beautiful natural surroundings – this is why outdoor activities such as hiking and paragliding are so popular here. However, there are more leisurely outdoor activities to enjoy, especially when the weather is hot.

Here is a list of the Cape’s favourite dams and rivers to cool off in:

  1. The Silvermine Reservoir


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This reservoir is one of the most popular in the region, and is one of the most conveniently-located freshwater swimming spots around. Follow a short boardwalk just off the beautiful Ou Kaapse Weg road, and you’re there. There is an entrance fee to pay at the gate, and visitors are allowed to hike, swim, braai and picnic in the region.

Location: Table Mountain National Park, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve), Cape Town

2. Crystal Pools

The Crystal Pool Hiking Trail begins on the R44, after crossing a bridge over the mouth of Steenbras River. Permits must be booked ahead of time, and these are checked once you arrive. Only 50 people are allowed to visit the pools daily to prevent overcrowding.

Location: Kogelberg Nature Reserve Trail, Helderberg Rural, Cape Town, 7135

3. Beaverlac Nature Reserve


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Beaverlac is well-known for its beautiful scenery and idyllic swimming pools. Natural rock pools form the perfect swimming spots and waterfalls make it a beautiful sight to drink in. The reserve is no longer open to day visitors, but there are great campsites for an overnight adventure.

Location: Porterville, 6810

4. Bainskloof


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Nothing quite like a cool, clear, clean pool and a rock from which to spring! #bainskloof #capetown #southafrica #kloofing

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Bainskloof is a beautiful place to explore on foot, and there are several hikes through the pass. The hikes can get you to the Witte River, which is perfect for swimming. If you intend to hike and swim, make sure to plan ahead and purchase permits from Bainskloof Corner Lodge.

Location: Bainskloof Rd, Wellington, 7655

5. Solms-Delta


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While Solms-Delta is better known for being one of Franschhoek’s most beautiful wine estates, visitors also have the option of swimming in the beautiful Dwars River. It is recommended that you purchase a picnic basket from the in-house restaurant and make your way to one of the allocated spots along the quiet stream.

Location: Solms-Delta, Delta Road off the R45, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek Valley

6. Berg River


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The Berg River Resort has something for everyone. Facilities include a 3,5m deep Olympic pool, a kiddie’s pool, waterslide and the river which is ideal for swimming and canoeing. Berg River resort is the perfect place to visit for a family braai, a picnic, school outing, birthday gathering or a team-building event.

Location: R45 Franschhoek Road, Paarl South, 7624

7. Breede River

Breede is a long river that runs through several Western Cape towns, including Worcester, Ceres, Swellendam and Witsand before flowing into the Indian Ocean. There are several swimming spots along the 337 km river, but the best ones are located in the Bontebok National Park.

Location: Swellendam, 6740

Picture: Stefintheclouds88/Instagram

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.